Government shutdown and your health plan

The possibility of a Dec. 7 partial government shutdown is another good reason feds — especially retired government workers — should pick their 2019 health plan ASAP. The health insurance open season ends at close-of-business Dec. 10, so what if there is nobody around to do business?

Waiting until the last minute, especially to finalize what could be the most important financial decision you’ll ever make, begs the question “what could possibly go wrong?” You don’t want to let inertia put you and your family at possible risk of being in the wrong plan, especially if you are hit with major medical bills in 2019.

Experts say the catastrophic coverage of a plan — the maximum out-of-pocket-cost-to-you — should be your number one consideration. Do you know the limits in your current plan? Is there a much better deal available?

There is still plenty of time to shop, compare and in many cases save lots of money next year in both premiums and out-of-pocket costs to you.

Walton Francis, editor of Consumers Checkbook Guide to Federal Health Plans, said half of the people in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program are in the wrong plan. Meaning they could get equal or even better coverage while saving $1,000 to $2,000 next year.

This year many federal workers are shopping at the office thanks to their agency which has purchased the online version of Checkbook for their use. But that doesn’t help most retirees. And because most retirees stay in the same plan year after year, after year, many of them are paying too much in premiums. There are many options that provide equal coverage, at lower premium. But you need to shop around.

Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. Walt Francis will be my live guest on Your Turn. He’ll talk about best buys and explain why many more people need to switch plans.

Questions for Walt can be sent before airtime to

Happy hunting!

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

The joker playing card was invented in the U.S. during the Civil War as a trump card for the game “Euchre,” which was popularized by the Pennsylvania Dutch. The name “joker” is believed to come from the terms “Juker” or “Juckerspiel,” which is the original German spelling of Euchre.

Source: Wikipedia

Related Stories


Your Turn with Mike Causey


Learn about everything from pay, benefits and retirement, to buyouts, COLAs and pay freezes. Call the show live Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. at 202-465-3080 with your questions. Dial 605-562-0264 to listen live from any phone. Follow Mike on Twitter and send him an email with your questions and comments. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Podcast One.


Nov 26, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.2856 -0.111 4.85%
L 2025 12.0665 -0.1154 8.89%
L 2030 42.7291 -0.5654 11.31%
L 2035 12.8482 -0.1867 12.31%
L 2040 48.6780 -0.7731 13.33%
L 2045 13.3482 -0.2272 14.19%
L 2050 29.2724 -0.5333 15.08%
L 2055 14.4363 -0.3307 18.41%
L 2060 14.4363 -0.3306 18.41%
L 2065 14.4362 -0.3305 18.41%
G Fund 16.7127 0.0015 1.12%
F Fund 20.9220 0.1624 -1.44%
C Fund 69.2640 -1.6088 24.02%
S Fund 84.8572 -2.1223 17.73%
I Fund 37.8901 -0.8469 11.23%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.